SHUKALB’s 2018 Year in Review

To all of our members, supporters and friends, we want to wish you a Most Happy, Joyous and Healthy New Year in 2019.  The success enjoyed by our Association this past year could not have been achieved without the support, encouragement and willing participation of a wide variety of stakeholders in the water supply and sewerage sector of Albania and the Western Balkans.

During 2018, SHUKALB continued the cooperation with SHUKOS (the Water and Wastewater Works Association of Kosova), under the Joint Training Program and successfully delivered a total of 8 training courses, attended by the staff of the Albanian and Kosova water utilities, with trainers coming from both countries.  In addition, SHUKALB successfully implemented, for the first time in its history of training development and delivery, a distance-learning training course on “Practical Guidelines for the Administrative Council Members of Water Supply and Sewerage Utilities”.  We are determined and committed to continue the Joint Training Program in 2019, by scheduling the delivery of the most required training courses across Albania and Kosova, thus responding to the capacity development needs of our member water supply and wastewater utilities.

In the framework of the Danube Learning Partnership (D-LeaP), SHUKALB in partnership with SHUKOS, delivered successfully the Commercial Efficiency and Utility Benchmarking programs.  D-LeaP is an initiative led by the International Association of Water Utilities in the Danube River Catchment Area (IAWD) that aims to provide capacity building programs through cooperation with water associations in the Danube region, in order to improve water supply and sewerage services in the Danube region.  In 2019, SHUKALB in cooperation with SHUKOS plan to offer 2 (two) more programs, Energy Efficiency and Integrated Asset management.

With regards to the Test-based Certification Program for Albania, on 28 September 2018, Minister Damian Gjiknuri, Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy of Albania, issued the Instruction No. 660 “Establishing an Institutionalized National Training and Test-Based Certification Program for operational managers of Water Supply and Sewerage Utilities in Albania”.  The Program will provide for a more efficient and effective water supply and sewerage sector workforce, with a higher awareness of public health protection and ways to improve utility performance.  This legal framework was the result of SHUKALB’s efforts, technically supported by the grant Project “Sustainable Water Sector Capacity Development in Albania”, with financial support from United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the close cooperation with all water sector stakeholders in Albania, and in particular of the partnership with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy of Albania.  SHUKALB is assisting and will continue to work closely with the Ministry and National Water Supply-Sewerage and Waste Infrastructure Agency (AKUM) to set up further regulations for the implementation of the Program.

The Annual Balkans Joint Conference and Exhibition, organized in Tirana, on 7, 8, 9, November 2018, was once more a great success considering the wide participation of water professionals from Western Balkans, high level decision makers from Albania and Kosovo, distinguished speakers, business professionals, as well as the relevant topics that were addressed and presented during the three days of the event.  The Conference hit yet another record by attracting an audience of over 500 participants.  The participants at the Conference had the opportunity to visit the largest Technical Exhibition in the history of our Annual Conferences, which gathered 30 private companies coming from thirteen (13) different countries from the Balkan region, Europe, as well as Israel.

Regarding our “Outreach Programs”, SHUKALB has successfully completed the Friends of Water Program for the 3rd Grade Students and the EarthEcho Water Challenge Program for the 8th Grade Students.  Both of these programs were funded by a grant that SHUKALB received by the US Embassy in Albania.

The Friends of Water Program reached its objective to raise awareness on water issues among 3rd grade students across Albania.  The program reached 53 elementary schools across Albania, involving over 5,000 children.  The Program was conducted in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Sport and Youth of Albania, together with involvement and support from the water utilities in the respective schools part of the Program.

The EarthEcho Water Challenge Program which aims to educate and encourage engagement in the protection of the water resources, through participation in more formal citizen monitoring efforts, reached 25 elementary schools across Albania, involving over 2,000 children.  The data collected from these tests (pH, temperature, turbidity, DO) were uploaded by the students on the program website www.worldwatermonitoringchallenge.com.

All these achievements are the result of the hard work of the Association’s staff, the support of the Board of Directors and the commitment of our members.

There is still a great amount to be done, but we know how to do it, and we will succeed.